Passage to america
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Passage to america

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Christina Brownell

Christina Brownell
LIT 311
Cambridge College

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Passage to america Passage to america Presentation Transcript

  • Passage to America New Immigrants Tell Their Stories
  • “Coming to America”
    • America is a land of immigrants with stories that comprise a major part of our literary landscape
    • These stories trace the ancestry of early settlements in New England, and the more recent arrivals from all parts of the world
    • More than four centuries of immigration have given Americans a rich cultural mix of stories
  • Recent Decades
    • From 1980 on, there has been a flood of drama, poetry, memoir, and fiction contributed by writers from around the world
    • Young well-educated group of newly arrived Americans have transformed the literary landscape with new and distinctive voices
    • “ Passage to America” theme is still present but the immigrants and their stories have changed
  • 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act
    • Did away with old immigration controls and instituted sweeping changes
    • Old rules limited immigration with rigid national quotas, favoring Europeans
    • 1965 rules gave priority to educated and skilled workers and uniting families
    • Resulted in influx of Caribbean, Central American, South American, Chinese, Indian, Korean and other Asian immigrants
  • First Source of New Writers: Upwardly Mobile Immigrants
    • Many possessed specific skills in medicine, business, computers, science, and education
    • Newly established professionals worked hard to see their children become educated
  • Clash of Cultures
    • Struggle to retain ethnic heritage vs. assimilation into American traditions
    • These contrasts provide perfect material for literature – showing comedy, passion, drama
    • Ready audience of second generation immigrant readers
    • Appeals to wider American audience
  • Second Source of New Writers: South of the Border
    • Mexicans in the United States have been producing literature for generations but have become much more visible as education levels have risen
    • More young people are fluent in English, the major language in the literary market
    • Issues to write about for Chicano and Chicana writers are the same as other immigrants, with additional ones as well
  • Themes of New Writing
    • America as a land of freedom and opportunity
    • America as a land of disappointment because of discrimination and hard economic times
    • Desire to retain original traditions while “fitting in” is difficult
    • Transition from one culture to another is heartbreaking
    • Shock of cultural differences and prejudice
  • Publishing Issues for Multicultural Writers
    • Material for stories is rich and is readily exploited by publishers
    • Writers feel “pigeonholed” as though only ethnic themes are expected
    • Writers do not want to be forced into writing about predictable themes and issues of their culture
    • Should writers honor old traditions or can they strike out on their own with new subjects?
  • What Does it Take to Become Fully American?